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December 7, 2019

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Ada baseball out-slugs Bluffton in NWC opener

By Cort Reynolds
ADA - The host Ada baseball team ran out to a big early lead and held off rival Bluffton 13-10 in the Northwest Conference opener on a cool, windy Thursday evening.

The Bulldogs improved to 4-3 and 1-0 in the NWC with the league victory, while the Pirates fell to 1-5 and 0-1 with the loss.

Bluffton was the home team even though the game was switched to the Ada park diamond.

The purple and gold scored three first inning runs, then added six more scores in the second frame to build a big 9-0 early lead.

Bluffton scratched back with two runs in each of the second and third frames to pull within 10-4.

In the top of the fifth, Ada pushed across another run on a two-out shortstop error to make it 11-4.

Bulldog junior hurler Bryce Paul retired the Pirates in order in the bottom of the fifth. Junior shortstop Phillip Coulson snared a soft liner for the first out. He then made a diving snag to his left off a line drive up the middle to end the frame.

In the top of the sixth, Paul singled down the left field line and moved up when Daniel Mattson's sacrifice bunt was misplayed.

But both runners were stranded when Pirate pitcher Gabe Colley retired the last two batters on a foul pop-out and a grounder back to the mound.

In the bottom of the sixth, Bluffton rallied with five runs behind multiple errors, five stolen bases and two infield hits.

A one-out walk was followed by an infield hit and two stolen bases. After an infield error, another infield single to second base cut the Ada lead to 11-6.

Another steal and a Bulldog error allowed two more runs to scamper home, slicing the lead to 11-8. A pickoff error and a misplayed flyball helped the Pirates inch within 11-9.

However, Paul recovered to retire the next two batters on a fly out to left field, and on a strikeout to preserve the two-run margin.

In the Ada seventh, the Bulldogs scored two insurance runs with the aid of some walks. Coulson relieved Paul in the seventh and got the save, allowing one run on two walks and a hit before nailing down the last out of a 25-pitch inning.

Paul struck out three Pirates in 3 2/3 innings of relief to earn the pitching victory. He gave up three earned runs and five hits while striking out three.

Colley pitched 5 1/3 innings of solid relief for the Pirates. He scattered nine hits, struck out seven, walked four and allowed four earned runs.

Sophomore outfielder Zac Swaney scored three runs, had two hits and swiped three bases to ignite the Ada offense. Sophomore second sacker Brandon Hull contributed two hits, three runs batted in and two runs.

The Bulldogs out-hit Bluffton, 17-7.

Coulson rapped out three hits, scored two runs and drove in one. He also stole two bases. Austin Amburgey singled twice, scored two runs and drove in a run.

Junior Landon Blankenship smacked a double and drove in three runs. Senior Ethan Hall had a hit, scored twice, drove in a run and walked twice. He also stole two bases.

Senior Jaylin Burkhart contributed two hits, one RBI and a walk. Paul drove in two runs and had a single, plus two steals. Sophomore Mattson singled twice and scored a run. Senior Connor Frazier added an RBI and a steal.

Frazier struck out three, walked six and allowed four earned runs as the starting pitcher over 2 1/3 innings.

Tucker Neff collected two hits, two RBI and a run scored for Bluffton. Teammate Cayden Rayle drove in a pair of runs, scored twice and singled. Rayle also stole four bases while Neff swiped two bags.

Brett Basinger rapped out two hits and drove in a run. Sean Casemier singled, scored one run and stole a base. Cole Koenig knocked in two runs and scored a run. Logan Rhodes scored two runs and walked twice.

Ada commited four errors on the raw, wet evening while the Pirates made two miscues. The Bulldogs left 11 runners on base while Bluffton stranded seven.  

    123    456    7    R        H        E
Ada 361     010     2       13   17       4
Blf 022     005     1       10      7     2
WP-Paul (1-1)     LP-Koenig    
2B-Blankenship (A)    

Ada (3-0 home) is slated to entertain county rival Ridgemont Friday, April 5.

Bluffton visits Liberty-Benton Saturday at noon.